Samajwadi Party (SP) secretary-general Amar Singh on Friday maintained that External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s stay at a posh hotel involved matters of propriety.

Speaking to journalists for the first time since his return from Singapore, Mr. Singh said it would have had been more appropriate if the Centre had paid Mr. Krishna’s bill, but that would have taken a toll on the UPA’s clamour for austerity.

“But if his son-in-law’s company had paid the bill it raised issues of ethics. Can a corporate body foot the bill of a Union Minister, even if it belongs to his relative,” Mr. Singh asked.

He said Mr. Krishna was not entitled to such pecuniary benefit since he was not a director of the company. The company violated law by extending such a favour to Mr. Krishna.

Mr. Singh said austerity was a matter to be observed and not a policy to be marketed. He said he never availed himself of such facilities even for his recent medical treatment, adding that George Fernandes never boasted that he travelled economy class even as Defence Minister.

Denying the SP’s leanings in the clash between the Ambani brothers, Mr. Singh suggested that the Centre cancel the productivity-sharing contract and hand it over to the ONGC. GAIL should be vested with the marketing rights, and gas be supplied to the NTPC.

Mr. Singh said the opinion of the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General and the CAG gave a clear picture of the problem. He had written to the Petroleum Minister to cancel the contract awarded to Mukesh Ambani to end the matter.

Replying to a question, Mr. Singh said the security provided to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi should never be questioned.

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